DIY Raised Beds - Waist High Beds

Raised Bed Gardening

Gone are the days where it is necessary to have a large lot or a farm to grow vegetables, herbs and
flowers. Thanks to various forms of containers and raised beds, gardening can be enjoyed by everyone.

This form of gardening is great. It allows for creative gardening that otherwise could not exist for smaller spaces, however, there are two important reasons why I use them. It allows me to get a better harvest due to the benefits of raised beds and it reduces the strain on my back and knees.

Microclimate and other Benefits

The benefits of having a raised bed are phenomenal. Why do you ask? They create a microclimate which suppresses weed growth and conserves moisture, also raised beds are not walked on, so there is no compaction of the soil, allowing the plant's roots to grow easily producing a higher yield.

The vegetable or flower plants are spaced closer together rather than in a conventional bed. Plants are planted in sort of a geometric pattern or (block pattern) and the spacing is done as to allow for plant maturity (ie., beets 4-6" by 4-6"). 

When this is done properly, the leaves just slightly touch each other. This creates a microclimate which suppresses weed growth and conserves moisture. 

A good thing to keep in mind when filling your planter is to use only weed-free and compost rich well-drained soil. This will give you beautiful healthy plants and delicious vegetables for seasons to come. Speaking of seasons to come, raised beds are also a good way to extend the growing season.

In addition to the healthy benefits, they are used to control erosion by building them along slopes, which in turn will both recycle and conserve water as well as nutrients. 

Materials and Construction

The raised beds should be three-to-four-foot-wide (1.0-1.2m) beds and can be in any length or shape
you choose. In these type of beds, the soil is raised above the surrounding soil anywhere from (six inches to waist-high) and is enclosed by a frame made from wood, rock, concrete blocks, and you may even want to integrate the use of metal in your construction.

Choose the materials carefully for your vegetable bed construction due to the concerns with pressure treated wood (pressure treated pine that has been treated with Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCC), a toxic chemical mix used to treat wood that can leach into the soil and be absorbed into the plants that are then eaten. If you want to use wood, Cedar is best, it is rot resistant and safe for plants.

Concrete blocks are a safe alternative, inexpensive, and easy to use. They may not be aesthetically pleasing.....but you can put your whimsy on it.

You can also use pavers, stepping stones and recycled plastic.

Waist High Bed

Determine the height by measuring from your waist to the ground with a tape measure, this will give you a waist height that is appropriate for you. Decide what length you want and the typical width is 3 to 5 foot.

I have included this link for instructions - DIY Waist High Planter Box -  This is an awesome planter box by MidnightMaker.

I hope you enjoyed this post today and if you have any ideas on raised beds, please share. I would love to hear from you.

From my "Dirty" shovel to yours, I'm wishing you the best.